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Explore Copenhagen's Hidden Gems

2024-06-27

Looking for a unique and memorable experience in Copenhagen? Discover the city's hidden gems and non-touristy things to do that aren’t on the typical tourist itinerary. These secret spots reveal the city’s history, culture, and creativity in surprising and delightful ways.

This guide will take you through some of Copenhagen’s hidden gems and best-kept secrets and will take you around the city center and off the beaten path. So, grab your camera and your curiosity, and let's go on a treasure hunt in Copenhagen!

Uncover the Secrets of Langelinie

Langelinie is mostly known for being home to the world-famous Little Mermaid, but here you can also find many other historic and interesting statues and sculptures, some with secret stories.

Can You Spot the Spelling Mistake?

In front of the Royal Cast Collection, you’ll find a huge statue of David. While the statue itself is quite remarkable and hard to miss if you walk along the harbor, it’s still on our list of hidden gems. Why? Well, the statue itself is not a hidden gem, but take a closer look at the plaque on the base of the statue with a surprising detail about the artist’s name. Was it really made by someone called Michel Angelo or do you think it should have stated the name of a very famous Italian artist instead?

Find David at Toldbodgade 40 – on the water side of the Royal Cast Collection

David statue_plaque.jpg

Think Like a Global Visionary

ZinkGlobal sits quietly at Nordre Toldbod, looking deep in thought and a bit sad or longing perhaps. He is 3 meters tall, weighs 2.5 tonnes, and is composed of about 8.500 pieces of metal from cars and various machines. He is perched on a giant key, which symbolizes the key to the future. The artist behind ZinkGlobal aims to inspire visitors to think globally and out of the box for a better future for all.

Let your thoughts travel outside the box at Nordre Toldbod.

A Tribute to Ivar Huitfeldt and His Brave Men

The tallest statue of them all, standing at 19 meters tall, is a monument that commemorates the death of Ivar Huitfeldt. Huitfeldt was an Admiral in the Danish/Norwegian fleet and is considered a hero of the sea. Along with his men from HDMS Dannebroge, he gave his life in October 1710, defending Denmark against an attack by the Swedish naval fleet at Køge Bay.

On the base of the monument, you’ll find four bronze reliefs: a portrait of Ivar Huitfeldt, his coat of arms, his ships, and a short inscription. On top of the monument, a statue of Victoria, the personification of Victory, stands as a tribute to their bravery.

Find the impressive monument at Nordre Toldbod.

The Resilient Polar Bear

At the southern end of Langelinie stands a mighty polar bear with her two cubs at her feet. The sculpture itself is hard to miss, but if you look closer, you can see a couple of small holes in momma bear’s back, and these are actual bullet holes! She was shot in the dark of night by a German soldier during World War II. On his night watch, he noticed a dark shadow looming ahead. He shouted at the ‘enemy’, who did not back down, and therefore he shot at it. Fortunately, the polar bear survived the attack, and the soldier was sent home to Germany for his mistake.

Visit the polar bear at Langelinie.

Visit The Genetically Modified Mermaid

Less than a kilometer from the Little Mermaid, you can find the Genetically Modified Little Mermaid sitting on her rock, looking a whole lot different than the original mermaid. Though beautiful in her own way, this sculpture presents a modern twist on the classic tale and the perception of beauty in society. She was created by Danish sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard as part of his series ‘The Genetically Modified Paradise’.

Stop by the modified mermaid at Langelinie Allé 17 or join Stromma’s Grand Canal Tour.

The Genetically Modified Mermaid.jpg
Photo by Andreas Trier Mørch

Hidden Gems in the Heart of Copenhagen

As you stroll through the heart of Copenhagen to admire all the iconic sights and attractions, we have a few secrets to share with you about some of the things that might not be on your list of things to do.

Get a Glimpse of Copenhagen’s Medieval Past

Discover the remains of Jarmers Tower, a medieval fortification from the 16th century. Jarmers Tower, or Jarmers Tårn, was once part of the Copenhagen moat and represents the remains of the original eleven towers which were once joined together as a part of the city’s medieval fortification.

Today, the remains of the tower stand as a testament to Copenhagen’s rich history and are a must-visit for history enthusiasts, offering a unique piece of Danish history.

Find the remains at Jarmers Plads. Hop Off Stromma's Classic Copenhagen route at stop 10 - Gammel Torv.

Stand on the Geodetic Midpoint of Denmark

At the Round Tower, you’ll find a brass plate marking the geodetic midpoint of Denmark. Back in the 1760s the first comprehensive maps of Denmark were produced. During this period, astronomy held significant importance and as a beacon for astronomy, the Round Tower naturally became the centre for mapping out Denmark.

The hollow core of the tower is recognized as the geodetic midpoint of Denmark and also serves as the starting point of the Danish coordinate system. This unique feature allows visitors to literally stand on the midpoint of Denmark.

Visit the geodetic midpoint at Rundetaarn, Købmagergade 52.

Recharge Your Batteries in a Piece of Danish History

At A.C. Perch’s Teahouse, you step into a piece of Danish history! This little gem has been part of Copenhagen since April 1835, and it’s always been in the exact same location. Even though times have changed, and everything has become digital and modern, Perch’s Teahouse has managed to strike the perfect balance between the past and present. While they now have an online shop and have done some modernization of the store, some of the shelves, tapestry, and interior in the shop dates back to the opening in 1835. But most importantly, their core values remain the same to this day: They sell the finest tea and great service is always given. You can buy tea to bring home, but they also have a Tearoom where you can enjoy tea – of course – and something delicious to accompany the hot beverage.

Enjoy teatime at Kronprinsensgade 5.

Admire the Second-Largest Mosaic in the Nordics

Located next to the Royal Danish Theatre, you’ll encounter a stunning mosaic ceiling that ranks as the second-largest in the Nordics! The creation of this impressive ceiling took eight years and approximately three million pieces of mosaic. The mosaic features famous personalities such as Hans Christian Andersen and Carl Nielsen. Additionally, H.C. Ørsted and Niels Bohr, both renowned physicists who contributed significantly to the development of the radio, are also depicted in the artwork.

Admire the magnificent mosaic at the passage next to the Royal Danish Theatre on Kongens Nytorv. Hop off at stop 2 - Nyhavn / Kongens Nytorv on Stromma's Classic Copenhagen route.

Take a Stroll in a Secret Garden

The Black Diamond is an architectural masterpiece that stands out from its surroundings and the same goes for Christiansborg Palace, but wedged in between them, you’ll find one of Copenhagen’s most well-kept secrets: The Royal Library Garden. It’s such a secret, that many locals don’t know the garden. The garden was built on top of Tøjhushavnen, Christian IV’s former naval port, and has existed since the 1920s. As a nod to the area’s naval history, there’s a pond in the middle of the garden to symbolize the sea and a mooring ring used for naval ships in the 17th and 18th century built into the masonry at the end of the garden.

Find this secret spot in Copenhagen at Rigsdagsgården 13B. Hop Off at stop 1 - Ved Stranden on Stromma's Classic Copenhagen route.

Royal Library Garden.jpg
Photo by Martin Heiberg

Witness a Tragic Tale Under Water

Under the waters of the Slotsholmen Canal, you can see a sculpture of merman and his sons. The sculpture is called Agnete & Havmanden, or Agnete and the Merman, and it was made by Suste Bonnén in 1992. The sculpture is based on a Danish folk tale about a woman who falls in love with a merman and her greatest wish is to live her life with him underwater. Agnete’s wish comes true, she gets her merman as well as seven sons, only for her to realize she was happier on land and therefore she leaves her family and to this day, you can see them gazing up from the water, waiting for her return.

Look under water at Gammel Strand.

Agnete_og_Havmanden.jpg

A Celebration of Bertel Thorvaldsen

Atop Thorvaldsen’s Museum, you can see a statue of the Goddess Victoria riding in triumph with her four horses, symbolizing the great success of Bertel Thorvaldsen. Despite being born into very poor circumstances in Copenhagen, Thorvaldsen’s exceptional talent for both drawing and sculpture making led him to spend 40 years working in Rome, creating works of art for the Pope, Napoleon, and European royalty. His life is a true story of success.

Don’t forget to look up and see the Goddess at Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2. You also get a great view of the statue on board Stromma's Classic Canal Tour with departure from Ved Stranden.

A Post-Modern Weather App

The beautiful Art Deco building called Richshuset, located close to City Hall Square and Tivoli Gardens, is easily recognizable by the enormous thermometer on the side. Let your gaze follow the thermometer upwards to find a post-modern weather app. The two golden weather girls supposedly predict the weather. If you can spot the “sunshine-girl”, dressed in a summer dress and pulling her bike, it’s a sign of nice and sunny weather. However, if you see the girl wearing a raincoat and walking her dog, it’s time to open your umbrella as this indicates rain.

Find Richshuset at Vesterbrogade 2A. 

Wander Off the Beaten Path

Outside the city center you can enjoy some of Copenhagen's cool neighborhoods such as Refshaleøen, Frederiksberg, and Vesterbro and here lies some hidden gems as well.

Visit a Grave From the Future

At Assistens Cemetery, you can pay a visit to the grave of a time traveller! This is the final – or should we say future – resting place of time traveller Andreas Morgenrødt. He was born in 1996, and according to his gravestone, dies in 2064! This unusual inscription has left many visitors momentarily confused, prompting them to ask themselves, “Wait, what year is it?”

This grave is part of an artistic installation from 2015, created by artist Morten Søndergaard. Interestingly, the name Andreas Morgenrødt is an anagram of the artist’s name. But let’s keep this between us, as the tale of a time traveller’s grave is far more interesting than the real story.

Travel in time at Assistens Cemetery, Kapelvej 4.

A Majestic Symbol of Strength and Loyalty

Step into the Carlsberg City District and be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the Elephant Gate. Built in 1901, this architectural marvel features four colossal granite elephants, each one a testament to the strength and loyalty that elephants symbolize.

The gate was built by Danish brewer and founder of Carlsberg, Carl Jacobsen. He collaborated with the talented architect Vilhelm Dahlerup to bring his vision to life and the inspiration behind the gate is the elephant statue at Piazza Minerva in Rome.

Find the elephants at Ny Carlsberg Vej 100.

Elephant gates at Carlsberg.jpg

Visit An Underground Art Museum

In Søndermarken, just across from the entrance of the Copenhagen Zoo, lies a hidden gem - the underground art museum, Cisternerne. This unique museum, which opened its doors in 1996, was once a water reservoir that has since been transformed into a haven for modern art. The exhibitions here are inspired by the unique atmosphere of the space, with artists from around the world using the subterranean setting to explore themes of darkness, dampness, and depth.

One thing to note before your visit - the underground location means it can get a bit chilly, so be sure to bring a sweater or light jacket.

Go underground in Søndermarken, Roskildevej 25. Join Stromma's Urban Green Copenhagen route and jump off at stop 27 - Copenhagen Zoo / Cisternerne.

Challenge Yourself High Above Ground

Are you an adrenaline junkie or do you like challenging your limits? At Urban Ranger Camp on Refshaleøen you can get an adrenaline kick out of the ordinary! Imagine yourself 50-metres above ground, high roping through 4 different tracks of varied difficulty level and being rewarded by taking the deathslide (!) back to the ground. Urban Ranger Camp is a fun way to push your limits and even though it’s not a sight as such, you should definitely add this to your list of non-touristy things to do in Copenhagen.

Challenge yourself at Refshalevej 177 or jump off at stop 34 – Street Food / Reffen on board Stromma’s Colorful Copenhagen route.

These are just some of the hidden gems you can find in Copenhagen. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these treasures will give you a new perspective on the city. So, what are you waiting for? Book your trip today and discover new things that will make you fall in love with Copenhagen and the city’s rich history.

Map of Copenhagen's Hidden Gems

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